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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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USDA Holds Farm Bill Listening Session in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will lead a 2007 Farm Bill listening session Friday at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.

The USDA said it is seeking comments on topics that include the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, challenges facing new farmers and ranchers, farm program benefits, rural growth and expanding markets.

The forum, which runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., provides an opportunity for USDA leaders to hear from a broad range of farmers and ranchers. "I'm approaching these listening sessions with an open mind, knowing the feedback we receive will be useful and help to set the course for a new Farm Bill," Johanns said.

The museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road, 1.5 miles east of Exit 1 off Interstate 25.

USDA officials said the session is open to the public and seating is on a first-come basis. Speakers are not required to register and will have two minutes to make their comments. Written comments may be submitted to USDA at the listening session or via a Website at www.usda.gov/farmbill.

For those who are unable to attend, the program will be Web conferenced through a service provided by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

The program will simultaneously reach 27 host Extension county offices that aren't within easy driving distance of Las Cruces using Extension's Web conferencing network. The online program will be available in all New Mexico counties, except for Doņa Ana, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra and Socorro counties.

The online session will also be archived for later review.

For more information about local sites for the listening, contact your county Extension office. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please contact the county Extension agent in advance. Contact information is available at http://cahe.nmsu.edu/county.